Irish Mountain
Running Association



David PowerPeter O'FarrellMick Hanney


My immediate thoughts:
God, I love these weekend nav races. The slagging that I'm out of my depth. The poker faces and deceptive comments at the start. The multi directional start. The fear of regret at a wrong route choice. The joy when it works. The epic baking spread at the end. The cold dip in the stream matched the cold pint in the lodge to finish
After all that 2nd behind Eddie and ahead of Brian.

Which route won?
The morning after, looking at the Strava Flyby (see Photos), everyone's cards are on the table. Liam "no road running" Vines clocked up only 13km, whereas the bog standard runners hit over 14km. I was in the middle at 13.4km.
In the end, the various routes didn't show a huge time saving. Up to CP1 I came out ahead by taking a direct line (versus the longer fire road). Then after CP3, a few adventurous souls took the other track. Myself and Graham were the only ones to cut through the trees and open mountain up onto CP4- in the end, while I felt great taking a path less travelled, the steepness of the climb did burn my calves and probably tired us out. Nothing gained, nothing lost. So all in all, a fun day out.

Cat Dog Pig Cow Beer

Round 2 and yet another brilliant race in this early part of the Leinster Championships, which could feasibly be renamed the Glenmalure Lodge minichamps as we have FraughAn Rock next weekend. Back to this week and with free route choice a big feature the recces would have been useful. Lacking the on the ground recces I sat my posterior in front of this very laptop and pored over Strava heatmap, previous reports and actual maps. In a slight twist to proceedings there was no punch card to be punched, instead our short term memory would be (severely) tested into remembering a word written at each CP.
From CP2 to the finish I had a clear idea of a route but the choices to CP1 were many and varied. There's a great photo up of the start line and lads running in 3 directions. Class.
I took the boring safe option and ran around the fireroad from the start and as was the case last time out that was slower. First Bernard and then Michael further along popped out on the road in front of me. Dave was even further along and I didn't even see his emergence from the tangled mess Coillte leave after a felling.
Onto the next choice - left or right at the junction. Only Bernard of our loose group of 5 went right over towards the Parish Bog area. 4 went left and soon became 5 again as the aforementioned Michael appeared from the brashings. Brian, Michael and myself went up onto the rough ground as soon as feasible - about 300m along the fireroad and Dave/Orla and others went the full 600m that the desktop pre race map reading suggested was optional. I don't think it made a difference. What made a big difference was continuing in the same direction over the top of CP1 and running off the ridgeline to immediately get on/find the path. Michael put good time into me doing this as I clambered over tree debris holding the ridgeline before dropping right over to the path.
After that it all seemed straight forward enough, I picked up a gel and a full sqeezy bottle from the path, drank the contents of the bottle immediately and then luckily spotted the strangely placed CP2 fluttering on a high branch and kept on trucking on the obvious lines to the finish. Orla/Liam and others took the straight line from CP3 towards CP4 and that seems nicer then the fireroads most of us took.
Strava Fly By is brilliant for the post race analysis. As for the poker faces, I was merrily telling anyone who would listen that of course all the runners would run around the fireroad - Dave Poker Face Power listened politely....and then ran up the bank!
Thanks to Paul Mahon and all his helpers, Maike (& Roisin) and Jenni at base plus Laura and David and Sandra on the CP's- especially wee Roisin.
The squeezy bottle thing was left at registration, hopefully the owner got it back. As Mick Hanney said, the run off the Fananerin Ridge was mighty.

Dog Cat Pig Cow Beer II

So far we have had 2 great races in the Drumgoff/Military rd champs (aka Leinster Champs).
We’ve had races of 40-50 runners which is just about the perfect no. for a race – not too few, not too big, and socially just about perfect.
The sun shone and all was well overlooking Glenmalure. Varying levels of strategizing beforehand on route plans.
Drumgoff was originally devised in the clockwise direction direction, when 3 of the 5 CPs were tricky to find. Since then Coillte have done a disappearing act on those forests and the CPs were less of a test. Still, the free choice element made it interesting. If you like to move on rough ground there is plenty of opportunity.
Marshalls at many of the CPs took the jeopardy out of finding the high point, particularly with visibility being so good.
Kudos to those that tried some adventurous routes that worked out, or to others for choices that perhaps didn’t. Its all part of the fun.
On to the race, I made ok progress to the first CP, running the fireroad. Got directly onto the next track and I needed to thank Graham for drawing my attention to the ribbon of tape that was CP2 hanging from a tree, as I was expecting to see it at a nearby boulder.
Thankfully the dry spell has made for good running on Slieve Maan, where usually it’s a bogfest.
Soon after leaving CP2, a couple of runners including Becky and Bernard ran past in the other direction, having missing the CP2 control. That didn’t bode well as now we have Becky and Bernard chasing us down.
Ran with Graham to and out of CP3, finding the nice gap thru the trees to the fire-road. Before too long, Bernard already caught us and was off into the distance as the gradient increased. Con Halpin also passed along here and fair play to him seemed to run every step of the rocky climbs to CP4, when most were power walking. Graham took the more direct way through the trees, but we still met up again on the Rocky last climb to Croaghanmoira – one of my local peaks.
Summiting CP4 that was the last I saw Graham as he was off in a flash. John Conway also sped off, leaving me feeling slow by comparison. The out and back nature of Croaghanmoira was a good (or bad) reminder of how close other runners were to you. Quite a few of these would later catch me.
I love the section up and down Mullach and along the ridge. Conditions were perfect for it, you could bounce along. The struggle began again climbing Fananerin at the far end, with a stream of runners coming towards you to remind you of how many where ahead of you.
From CP5 my previous recce was a complete disadvantage to me, as I had previously ran the right side of the fence. Not being familiar with the left side of the fence I ended up running too close to it and off the track, noticing too late that a few others had taken a more efficient path and gotten to the gate at the bottom before me – Becky, Liam and Mike, all descending very well. Once on the road there was no gaining to be done, as it was a case of grinding out the last kilometre to the finish.
A great spread of food and treats awaiting the finishers. Thanks to Paul and his team for a great event. Its just as well there weren’t more CPs as I think 5 keywords to remember was my limit on the day.